Bordered by seven other countries, Hungary is one of Europe’s foremost historical melting pots. The country’s old-school architecture gives much of the place a fairy-tale quality, and many of the attractions - Budapest’s magnificent Citadella, its enchanting Vajdahunyad Castle, the epic Hungarian State Opera House – are really magical. It’s a small country, and while there are some beautiful rural pockets worth exploring, most of the action takes place in Budapest. Read on for the attractions that will make your Hungary travel 2016 experience one for the ages.
You’ll be spoilt rotten for what to do in Hungary. So where do you start? We’ve come up with a few pointers to help.
Marvel at the iconic Sagrada Familla in Barcelona.
Gaudi’s majestic creation has been wowing crowds since it first began construction in 1882. Since then, multiple architects have taken up the reins on the project, some honouring Gaudi’s original designs, other’s redefining the creation completely. The multiple and varied facades of the building, plus its sheer size and majesty, make it a must do for any traveller visiting Barcelona.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Indulge in traditional Andalusian delicacies in Seville.
Seville is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, and whilst the traditional dishes may be simple to prepare, they’re bursting with fresh regional flavours. Gazpacho, Pescaito frito and Huevos a la Flamenca are all famed Andalusian specialities, or for those preferring traditional tapas, Seville has around 4,000 tapas bars to choose from – take your pick!See all trips that visit Seville
Live like a King in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Get a glimpse of life as the other half live with a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The largest palace in Europe, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used formally for state ceremonies. Gorge your eyes on the many works of art by famed Spanish painters as you delve a little deeper into Spain’s rich history.See all trips that visit Madrid
Party till dawn in the clubbing mecca of Ibiza.
Nowhere on Earth will you experience clubbing quite like Ibiza. Home to some of the world’s most infamous clubs, come and join the party as night after night revered world class DJ’s play their hearts out to adoring crowds. Get into the mood with sunset cocktails at Café Del Mar then party till sunrise at Space, DC-10 or Ibiza Rocks.See all trips that visit Ibiza
Bask in sunlight on Barceloneta Beach.
Some cities are fortunate enough to have the perfect city/beach balance, and Barcelona is one of them. Whilst Barceloneta Beach may be man-made, the water is clear and refreshing and the beach is alive with travellers and locals alike chatting, swimming and generally loving life. Spend long leisurely lunches in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, hire bikes or rollerblades or just relax in the sunshine.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Explore the Islamic inspired fortress of Alhambra.
Rising from woods of cypress and elm, the Alhambra reigns supreme on the hillside of Gibraltar. Born in the 11th Century and then further developed over the 14th and 15th century’s, the fortress holds an extensive network of lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens and gives those who visit it a glimpse into the rich history of the Spanish empire and the influence both Islam and Catholicism had on the Alhambra’s design.See all trips that visit Gibraltar
1. Sziget – Sziget is the last word in music festivals in Budapest and has been called Europe’s answer to the Burning Man. It takes place every August on the stunning island of Óbuda in the Danube, and attracts around 70,000 festivalgoers. Expect to see a sizeable line-up of the world’s top names in pop and rock.
For more information on the Sziget, click here.
2. Kalocsa Paprika Festival – The pepper has leant so much spicy goodness to Hungary’s culinary identity that it’s hardly surprising this humble vegetable has it’s own dedicated festival. Held in September, this gastronomic event is among the favourite festivals in Hungary and features all manner of pepper-themed tomfoolery.
For more information on the Kalocsa Paprika Festival, click here.
3. Budapest 100 – Taking place across Budapest every April in an effort to celebrate the city’s architecture, participating buildings aged 100 years or more throw their doors open to visitors. Take advantage of guided tours and free entries; this is great opportunity to immerse yourself in the capital’s history.
For more information on Budapest 100, click here.
4. Csabai Sausage Festival – Around a three-hour drive southeast of Budapest, you’ll hit Gyulai, near the Romanian border. It’s here that Hungary’s number one sausage celebrations happen, and although there are a few sausage fests across Hungary, this one is your one stop shop.
For more information on Csabai Sausage Festival, click here.
5. Busójárás – This winter event is held in Mohács in the south, and is something you won’t see every day. Held by the area’s Croat community, the townsmen don animal-like costumes and parade the streets. Legend has it that the purpose of the spectacle is to scare winter away. If you liked Where the Wild Things Are, you’ll love this.
For more information on Busójárás, click here.
1. Hungarian National Gallery – Housed within three wings of the Buda Royal Palace, exhibits and artefacts span the decades from the 11th century – no wonder it’s one of the most popular things to do in Budapest. With 100,000 pieces making up its permanent collection, you might want to set aside an afternoon or two for this one.
For more information on the Hungarian National Gallery, click here.
2. House of Terror – A must-do on your Hungary travel 2015 itinerary, this jarring collection of exhibits commemorates the horrors of totalitarianism and dictatorship that blighted the country until recently. Gruesome examples of torture methods sit alongside historical documents detailing the suffering people underwent during times of political unrest in Hungary.
For more information on the House of Terror, click here.
3. The Aquincum Museum – The staggering remains of the ancient city of Aquincum are one of the most interesting tourist attractions in Budapest. Walk through the Roman ruins and learn more about its fascinating history in the adjoining museum building.
For more information on the Aquincum Museum, click here.
4. Memento Park More of an open-air gallery, this collection of decommissioned sculptures that were removed from Budapest’s streets after the fall of communism in the country. No less than 42 imposing statues make up the park’s sobering atmosphere - make sure this goes on your list.
For more information on the Memento Park, click here.
5. The Ethnographic Museum – Delve into Hungary’s diverse, century-spanning history of folklore at this fascinating museum, and learn how the country’s landlocked geography, history of migration and international influences have shaped the country’s rich heritage.
For more information on the Ethnographic Museum, click here.
Hungary restaurants offer cuisine from all over the world, but with its vast array of native dishes, there’s no need to stray from traditional offerings. The best restaurants in Hungary will be found in Budapest. Be warned though; Hungarian food can be rich, with lots of meat, pastry, root veg – and paprika of course. We hope you’re hungry…
Goulash – Nothing captures the flavour of Hungary food more than a hearty bowl of spicy gulyás. Made with paprika-drenched beef and vegetables, this moreish stew is a classic winter warmer all year round.
Best eaten at –Rose Restaurant, Budapest, Akácfa u. 24
Chimney cake – Also known as Stove cake, the tall, cylindrical cinnamon and sugar dusted sweet has been labelled the oldest pastry in Hungary and even has it’s own festival.
Best eaten at –Molnar’s Kürtőskalács, Vaci Utca 31, Budapest
Lángos – This delicious deep-friend flatbread is an iconic Budapest street food. Topped with cheese and sour cream, add ham, garlic and other ingredients to flavour. Think pizza but naughtier.
Best eaten at –Lángos Land, Fény Street Market, Budapest
Hungarian sausages – Hungarian sausage is rightly famous, with the boiled hurka and smoked kolbász varieties among the must-try delicacies on offer.
Best eaten at – Faszalade, Budapest, Október 6. u. 9
Gesztenyepüré – A puree made from ground chestnuts, rum and sugar, this delicacy is served as a dessert with whipped cream. Simple but indulgent.
Best eaten at – Café Gerbeaud, Vörösmarty tér 7., V. district
Swimming costume - You have to visit the Széchenyi thermal bath in Budapest.
Warm clothing - Head heading to Hungary during the winter months, and you’ll need to wrap up warm.
Map and guidebook - It’s easy to get overwhelmed when deciding what to see in Hungary; definitely invest in a good guidebook to help with your Hungary travel plans.
Phone cards - Nobody likes data roaming charges, so if you want to call home, ensure you’ve got a phone card: public phone boxes rarely accept coins.
A good appetite - With such a variety of traditional cuisine on offer, you’ll want to make sure you try everything on the menu.